The paramyxovirus Simian virus 5 (SV5) is largely non-cytopathic in human epithelial and fibroblast cells. WF-PIV has been described previously as a naturally occurring SV5 variant that encodes P and V proteins differing from the wild-type (WT) SV5 proteins in eight and five amino acid positions, respectively. In this study, it is shown that WF-PIV is like WT SV5 by being largely non-cytopathic in A549 lung epithelial cells. However, substitution of the WF-PIV P/V gene into the background of WT SV5 resulted in a hybrid virus (P/V-WF) that induced apoptotic cell death not seen with either of the parental viruses. The kinetics of HeLa cell killing and induction of apoptosis by the P/V-WF chimera differed from those of the previously described P/V-CPI- chimera by being slower and less extensive. HeLa cell killing by the P/V-WF chimera was effectively reduced by inhibitors of caspase-9, but not of caspase-8. These results demonstrate that an exchange of P/V genes from two non-cytopathic SV5 variants can produce apoptosis-inducing chimeras, and that the role of the SV5 P/V gene products in limiting apoptosis can be dependent on expression in the context of a native viral genome.